Tensions rose at a Knesset meeting on Monday when Minister of Housing and Construction Meir Sheetrit expressed disapproval for the planned Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
Sheetrit, a member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima party, said that there was no trace of the realignment plan in the party’s platform and that even former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was opposed to another Israeli withdrawal.
“The current chances of implementing the realignment plan are very slim; there are many reservations, including my own; I do not believe in another unilateral disengagement,” Sheetrit said. “The situation in Gaza further strengthens the opposition to the realignment. I am a proponent of peace, but of the kind that will come after negotiations. I believe we must be patient until there is someone to talk to. We should not carry out any unilateral steps.”
Sheetrit also said that until the Palestinians promise suitable concessions, he is unprepared to cede one inch.
“I am prepared to sit and wait as long as I need to,” Sheetrit said. “We will remain in the settlements as long as we need to and wait two generations if necessary. We will remain in the settlements until a Palestinian government serious for peace arises.”
The prime minister’s office said that Sheetrit’s words indicate he is ready to oppose his own party and perhaps make a bid for party leadership. Sources within the government said that Sheetrit will likely end up changing his opinion and supporting realignment.